Mikal Bridges is the kind of pest the Phoenix Suns need

MIkal Bridges, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
MIkal Bridges, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Mikal Bridges has developed into one of the more annoying players in the league, and that’s a good thing for the Phoenix Suns.

It’s been another rough year for the Phoenix Suns. You remember the hot start they got off to, 7-4, and the hopefulness that Ayton—returning off a 25 game suspension—would help right the ship that by mid December had gone horribly off course?

It never really happened.

For sure, some of the Suns’ problems have come from that deadly snake bite known as injuries. But the team has also been masters of their own downfall, recently dropping two bad losses to a couple of teams even the Suns should have beaten: the Pistons and that G-League team masquerading as the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Still, what has been a disappointing season so far hasn’t come without a few silver linings. And one of the silverest of all the linings this season has been the play of Mikal Bridges.

Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Bridges has made a notable difference. More and more he is being asked to pick up the opposing team’s point guards, most recently Damian Lillard, Eric Bledsoe, then Dame Lillard again. He uses his 7’1” wingspan to hound the point of attack, often the full length of the court.

Teammates love playing with him, opponents hate playing against him.

He’s also stepped up vocally as well, calling out himself and his team after the aforementioned two bad losses, saying they were, “mentally weak”. Then he came out and had two solid games in two solid wins over the Blazers and the Bucks, even notching his first career 20-point 10-rebound game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

His biggest play however was, of course, on the defensive end. During the final minutes of the Bucks game, when they had squandered a 20-plus point lead and it looked as though the Bucks were going to come back, Bridges made a cross-court closeout run at Middleton who looked to have an open corner three. He did, but then he didn’t. Bridges not only closed the gap but got a fingertip on the ball as it’s released, blocking the shot.

That is just one example of the way Bridges plays every game. He is a tireless worker on both ends.

And his work doesn’t stop when the final buzzer blows. Off the court, he spends hours working on his game, finding ways he can help his team. Probably the most notable improvement has been his shot.

Early in the season there was a twitch in his release. Something unnatural had crawled up into his shooting stroke and made it uncomfortable to watch, like something out of a horror movie—a demonic possession. It was hard to watch. Thankfully the twitch is gone and its a lot more pleasant to see him pull-up from range.

Next. Phoenix Suns ticket price increase a necessary evil. dark

Even in a bummer of a loss to the Blazers last night, there were still things to admire like his block on Lillard at the basket. Even when the team is struggling, Bridges keeps it annoying, and that is great.